Driving is described as "hyper-realistic — more twitchy and uneven than a standard video game driving experience". One crash, for example, will shatter the car's windshield, blocking visibility for a few moments before the character removes the glass. Be aware that all cars on the island are right-hand drive (steering wheel on the right), unlike typical games, and hold a maximum of four survivors. The only exceptions are the Armored Truck and the Jeep in the Jungle chapter. These can hold five people (including Jin, and up to four Heroes).
- With exception for the Armored Truck, all cars have breakable windshields. They will crack if hit by zombies, or manually by the player. Cracked windshields will hinder the driver's ability to see. Several seconds later, the player character will smash the windshield, restoring sight.
- The player isn't invincible while inside a vehicle. With the exception of the Armored Truck, a zombie may still hit them through the door windows.
- If the player sits on the seat next to the driver and the driver's seat is unoccupied, the player can switch to the driver seat or vice versa (the driver can switch seats as long as he/she doesn't start the engine).
- It's best to turn the steering wheel in the direction the player wants to go before accelerating, as the steering can be turned in each direction in a stopped position.
- It's advised to never drive over Suiciders with the front of the vehicle since they will detonate, potentially destroying the vehicle with the player and any passengers inside. Instead, the player should hit them with the rear of the vehicle (does not apply to Dead Island: Riptide).
- On the pickup truck, behind the driver, there's a windshield that's unbreakable and completely bulletproof.
- The rear license plate on the SUV vehicles reads "D34D 1574ND". If the player changes the numbers to their closest looking letter counterparts, it would read "DEAD ISLAND".